Latin music has been a strong influence on Al Di Meola since his early years, and in the '90s, he paid especially close attention to the music of Argentina. A welcome addition to his already impressive catalog, Di Meola Plays Piazzolla pays homage to the late Argentine tango master Astor Piazzolla (whose distinctive and very poetic brand of romanticism was considered quite daring and radical in Argentina). It would have been easy for an artist to allow his own personality to become obscured when saluting Piazzolla's legacy, but the charismatic Di Meola is too great an improviser to let that happen. Though his reverence for Piazzolla comes through loud and clear on these haunting classics, there's no mistaking the fact that this is very much an Al Di Meola project.
Those who are fans of both Lalo Schifrin and Astor Piazzolla should be delighted by this reissue of important early works. The tunes here were originally on separate albums by their respective artists and have been long out of print until the issue of this BMG compilation. The first eight songs are by Lalo Schifrin and they show the listener both his piano virtuosity and his already strong skills as an arranger. I recognize many of these songs having heard them done by other artists in my father's record collection. Though the "tropical" sound may seem dated and quaint to modern ears, several listens will show you just how far advanced Schifrin was for his time.
102 tracks that traces the history of tango. The first 3CDs are dedicated to Astor Piazzolla and contain his most well-known hits such as Libertango, Adios Nonino and Milonga del Angel. CD4 & CD5 cover 50 tracks from the Golden Age of Tango, featuring Carlos Gardel, Osvaldo Pugliese, Anibal Troilo, Juan d'Arienzo, Julio De Caro and others.
Astor Piazzolla belongs to Buenos Aires and to the whole world as well. His music has that secret, that intangible charm and that dose of magic it takes to fascinate musicians and non-musicians alike, whatever their own styles and wherever they come from. His sharply-accented melodies and his lively, persistent rhythms with their ferocious attacks capture you and sweep you along. Then suddenly all that sonic aggression calms down in a slow section and his lyricism, his inexorable melodies, hit you inside. It's the tango, and it goes straight to the soul.
The Blu-ray version of the release 'Tango!' by the Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble features a video of the studio performance of several of the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla's most popular pieces, including Verano Porteno, Oblivion, and Libertango. Accompanied by a special documentary, 'Music from the Heart', which presents interviews with ensemble members and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process. The Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble was formed in January 2011 by the critically acclaimed Dutch violinist and violist Isabelle van Keulen especially for a series of concerts in Haarlem's Concertgebouw which showcased the music of Ástor Piazzolla.